Dahlias forum: Amending the soil in my dahlia bed. Any ideas?

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Name: Connie
Winlock, WA (Zone 8a)
Need has nothing to do with it.
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CLC70
Nov 28, 2015 9:41 AM CST
I have heavy clay soil that turns to concrete by summer's end. My dahlias grow in a knot and do not extend their toes down or even out very far. My husband is going to make a subsoiler tooth to attach to the sway bar of our tractor that will go down about 16-24 inches to loosen up the hard pan. I have a couple of yards of finished compost and hope to have a couple more by spring. Plus I have been getting sand down near the Cowlitz River. It's sand/volcanic ash from when Mount. St. Helen's blew and the core of engineers had to dredge the river because it clogged up. I also have a couple of piles of used potting soil. I plan to put all that onto the bed and til it in after using the subsoiler. Anyone have any ideas?
Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Nov 28, 2015 11:14 AM CST
I like your plan. Organic material and sand.
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Nov 28, 2015 11:21 AM CST
Coarse organic material that will break down slowly such as bagged wood based compost.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Nov 28, 2015 2:05 PM CST
Everything you are dong sounds great. Leaves are often free and easy to obtain this time of year (bagged up and ready to go.) You can let them compost, or just till them in as is and they will break down in place.

I like to run the mower over them after I blow them into piles, spread them over my beds, hose them down (they break down faster wet) and then top them with a layer of composted manure. I let them sit like that and then turn it all over in the Spring.

My soil is the opposite of yours - its all sand, so lots of organic material has been added over the years.

Good luck with it.
Name: Connie
Winlock, WA (Zone 8a)
Need has nothing to do with it.
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CLC70
Nov 28, 2015 9:20 PM CST
MY leaves all go into the compost piles. I build 2-3 large ones every year that my husband turns with the frontend loader on the tractor. A friend keeps his mule on my property and the mule always poops in the same spots in the field-leaving me big piles to load up for my compost. I also have made deals with several cemeteries. I remove all the dead plant material after memorial day which includes potted plants. The dead flowers and greenery go on the compost pile and the potting soil from the plants gets reused in the garden. This way the cemeteries don't have to pay to have it all hauled off in dumpsters and it doesn't go to the land fill.
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Nov 29, 2015 8:06 AM CST
Those must be nice big compost piles if it takes a tractor to turn them!!. My composting isn't that successful. I end up with maybe a cubic yard total every year. And I have to have my manure delivered - no herbivores around here to take advantage of.

Definitely sound like you are on the road to great soil.

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